Saranda was relieved that Mrs Hysa had decided to stay with them until George, Dad Dardon come back. Mum seemed to be better with her around.
"Mum, could I go on Dad's computer to do my homework?" she enquired in the living room, where Mum was fussing around a sick Joyce. She hadn't given up teaching her Albanian and now she was able to understand almost anything.
Unfortunately Mum's progress in English was much slower. Now Joyce was showing her some photographs and 'Father' in English.
"Is this your Dad, 'Fa-ter'?" Mum tried to pronounce English word pointing at a man on the picture.
"Yep,' laughed Joyce, but it sounds silly when you said that: "Fa-ther."
"Fine, fine, I don't say anything, anymore in your English, better you talk Albanian."
"MUUM!" Saranda shouted behind her back asking for attention: "Can I use the computer in Dad's room?"
"Now, in your holiday?" Mum turned around and looked at her quizzically.
"Let her go," they could hear Mrs Hysa's voice from the kitchen, where she was baking a cake.
Her covered head appeared in the doorway: "Information technology is everything today, you know, it took me ages to learn how to use it...I own a simple cleaning business, but you can't do it without a computer."
Saranda didn't wait fro more and rand Dad's study room. They had the Internet now as Dad needed it for his studies and she loved to go online and talk to her email buddy. Now she laughed at times, when she couldn't use it. They had 'Apples' at school and she looked forward to every IT lesson. They had their Muslim's friends from different countries and Saranda had found it fascinated to have a friend from Indonesia.
Dad seemed to be pleased enough that she had a Muslim girl to correspond with and gave her set times every day to use the Internet at home, but he checked the website, in order to protect her from unsuitable images.
Tri was her name and she longed to come and live in Australia, she had four sisters and a dream to be an airline stewardess, which her family apparently discouraged her to follow. Saranda found amusing to find out that their problems were often similar, although written in funny English and from exotic country. Most of all Tri was two years older.
Saranda found herself spilling her heart to this girl, she had never met and found close bond with her. To her own surprise she found herself to write her about Jack.
"Saranda, are you still alive?" Mrs Hysa called from the door and Saranda blanked out the screen in panic. She smelt the cake behind her back and soon the tray was put in front of her: "Have some nice tea and cake, which we have made with Victor."
"Thank you, Mrs Hysa," She smiled guiltily, she had forgotten all about her home duties.
"It's all right, but you're better to be off, George promised to call us tonight, to let us know how the boys' ride is going."
When she entered the kitchen, Mum and Mrs Hysa were engaged in some serious discussion. Mum stopped abruptly in half of the sentence and looked at her.
"Where are the kids?" Saranda asked.
"Watching cartoons." Mum replied and looked from Saranda to Mrs Hysa.
Always beaming Mrs Hysa looked somehow shrunk and worried: "Let her stay, it can happen to her too in the close future, especially here, you know," she had somehow cheered up and winked at Saranda.
"Not to her, her Father wants her to marry a proper Muslim."
"What you talking about Mum, I will never marry..." Saranda objected and took another piece of cake. Then she looked at Mrs Hysa: "What is this all about?"
"I was talking about my son," Mrs Hysa sighed.
"Son?" Saranda nearly dropped her cake in a surprise.
"He lives with his father in Sydney, the man I divorced five years ago," Mrs Hysa sighed again: "It was a big mistake, my Musim-Christian marriage..."
"That's not true," Mum patted her hand gently: "I was a catholic once too, you know, no religion should be preferred, it alone is the one true religion."
"But you are Muslim now, Mum, are you?" Mum snapped at her angrily and Mrs Hysa looked up at her in surprise. Saranda blushed fiercely. She couldn't explain her adversity against Mum's passivity; she thought if she would stay Catholic maybe she could stand up for herself. Saranda expected another lecture from Mrs Hysa but fortunately she was lost in her own thoughts.
"I let him go with his father, you know, he would be an outcast among Muslims here, but I thought he could find a place in his Father's Catholic community, " she smiled painfully: "despite her mother being Muslim."
"And what about your girl, is this man her Father too?" Saranda asked enthusiastically.
"Of course, he is," Mum looked at her disapprovingly and then turn back to Mrs Hysa lost in her dark thoughts: "You've done a right thing and you still have your girl, as Saranda said."
Saranda made a grimace and finished her second piece of cake. Mrs Hysa was an expert in baking. There was a silence for a while. Finally, Mrs Hysa continued.
"Do you remember, when I went to Sydney to celebrate two days of Eid there?"
"You came back very upset, I remember, I was thinking, it would have been much better for you to stay with us to celebrate the end of Ramadan." Mum shook her head.
"I visited hime there," Mrs Hysa whispered: "I wanted him to meet his sister and celebrate with us, but..." she stopped and breathed heavily: "He wasn't interested in Ramadan. His sister and him, they had nothing in common, except their looks."
"They are siblings, they are not supposed to have anything in common, look at me and Dardon," Saranda pointed out, but Mrs Hysa took no notice.
"I sometimes wonder if we didn't misunderstand the real purpose of religion here, today."
"You see, Mrs Hysa, I was right, we can ask God if women still have to wear head covers," Saranda pointed on her scarf: "I just prefer not too."
"You can't question God, Saranda," Mum looked at her crossly, then she looked up and said: "There is only one God..."
"But you can look for him for the answers, can't you?" Saranda replied quickly.
"Yes, you certainly can Saranda, but the answer is not simple as that, the head cover is merely a custom, some Kosovo Muslim's girls don't wear it at all, do you remember the girl with a ponytail from barracks, what was her name?" Mrs Hysa suddenly cheered up.
"I know who you mean, but I don't remember her name either," Saranda now seldom thought about their first home in Australia.
"Oh, I nearly forgot," Mrs Hysa stood up suddenly and grabbed Saranda's arm: : "Let's get something from my room." She dragged surprised saranda behind her and quietly closed the door behind them.
"I don't want mention Kosovo in front of you Mum, it always upsets her," Mrs Hysa whispered rummaging through her bag: "The Albanian Association received a letter from some of the Kosovo families, who had been living with you in the barracks, you know..." She finally found a piece of paper: "There was a note for you inside, from that girl with a ponytail."